When independent media maker, single Chicana/Bori mami Noemi Martinez asked me to review her zines for VivirLatino, it felt like an obligation and a gift. Obligation because what is the point of having a space like this one if I can’t open it up and share the way too marginalized work of mujeres like me and so unlike me. A gift because that is what Martinez’s aka Hermana Resist’s words and work are. This is more than blind loyalty it is right and I sincerely hope others will support her work.
Zines and zine making handmade, folded, glued, printed booklets have always felt just beyond my reach. Coming up as a media maker whose mediums are primarily digital and verbal/performance, I never felt like my hands were skilled enough. I would rather leave that to artists like Martinez who lays out her poems and thoughts on paper in a way that is an art all on its own.
Lines from acedia to apatheia is a perfect example. Organized around the ideas of interior peace and it’s supposed opposite, rage and grief, this zine asks the eternal question of “why am I here” and answers through words that Martinez writes “never found a home” but here they do.
Some works deal with coming to accept the painful but loving relationship between our bodies and our environments. From our bodies/ the dirt :
roots intertwine with wooden legs dying specs of light sometimes our bodies – the dirt fills the morning
Our environments include our histories and the places and people that inhabit those houses and the impact the past has on our present identities.
all the house we’ve lived in have been torn down
this ain’t for the dad
who fucked me up at 9 or 10 or 11
this poem is about
the girl who asks
me her father’s name
you know how good it feels
to hear -
I wanna be a momma just like you.
The zine also explores expectations put on us and internalized, even when we think we think they are our own invention. Martinez writes, in a stream of consciousness style, a series of questions and thoughts that I know I related to – as a former single mami, as a woman working in a job to provide for my family but that slowly is sucking the life out of me, as someone struggling financially, as I age, as a Latin@, as a border dweller in multiple senses of the word. Do you relate to any of these identities? Chances are there is something that will resonate, ring a bell, pull at your alma.
but then why do I feel that this
feeling I get of just “being” is some
sort of flat living. Maybe it’s the
But make no mistake this zine is rooted in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, in the land of Gloria Anzaldua, cooking colors between borders.
Visit all the raspa stands in Elsa,
Edinburg, McAllen, Pharr, San Juan,
Alamo, Weslaco, Mission, Donna, San
Isidro, Harlinggen, Brownsville, San
Benito, La Joya, Los Fresnos, Los
Saenz, Port Isabel, La Blanca,
Edcouch, Roma, and Mercedes.
The valley is not a book or a stanza
The valley is not in tune. The
valley is not seasonal.